luxury and spa

Blue Mountains luxury: Fairmont Resort revival

Brad Gray
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Blue Mountains luxury: Fairmont Resort revival
Fairmont Resort surrounded by the 50-million-year-old Jamison Valley
"... there's no arguing that there's one hell of a rainy day story to tell here around the resort's demise and its latest chapter, the restoration."
Brad Gray

Just a bounce from Sydney, you'll find the iconic mountain range known for the blue mist given off by the unending forests of eucalypt trees. A place where the air is a little fresher and the foliage a little greener than us city slickers are accustomed to.

The Blue Mountains is just 90 minutes from Sydney, and its timeless attractions prove this region to be one of Australia's most charming natural playgrounds.

Central to the Blue Mountains' essential tourism industry is the Fairmont Resort, located in the quaint town of Leura.

Upon the lodging's opening in 1988, and for a long time afterwards, it was regarded as one of the country's flagship resorts. A mainstay on which the Australian tourism industry hung its hat.

The Fairmont enjoyed a reputation of simple luxury and superb service. Yet after spending two decades at the top of the proverbial tree, the property was sold and the happy Fairmont story took a nightmarish turn for the worse.

Soon its reputation was one of Fawlty Towers-like fame.

What you see, is what you get

Enter international hotel chain Accor who looked to restore the resort's reputation and the sprawling 10-acre property on which it resides.

After an extensive spit and polish, Accor now regard the Fairmont as one of their signature properties, being among the hotel chain's exclusive MGallery collection.

There are currently only 50 of these properties worldwide and only two in Australia, the other being Melbourne's Grand Hotel.

Each MGallery property "has its own story", we were told as we wandered around the resort — and there's no arguing that there's one hell of a rainy day story to tell here around the resort's demise and its latest chapter, the restoration.

The obvious appeal of the Fairmont is its enviable location within a World Heritage site. Yet it's the hospitality staples, service and food, that the resort now prides itself on.

A refreshingly simple game plan countenances a real homeliness, which sweeps through the resort's high-roofed foyer, which brandishes thick wooden bannisters and an ashen aroma from the all-year log fire in the downstairs Embers bar.

Enveloping the property is the 50-million-year-old Jamison Valley, and a short stroll will have you looking over the deep gorge, neighbouring Katoomba and the Wentworth Falls.

If you don't fancy spending the night in the scrubland courtesy of a wrong turn, or simply want a greater insight into the Mountain range's geology, the birth of eucalypt trees and the chirpy wildlife, Tread Lightly Eco Tours run excursions by appointment.

A stone's throw

Being a stone's throw from the region's signature adventure park Scenic World certainly has its benefits, and we all know a trip to the Blue Mountains isn't complete without at least a nod to The Three Sisters.

However, the Fairmont resort has been refurbished in such a manner that a weekend away can be spent purely within the confines of the resort itself.

The property is full of walking tracks and boasts a number of its own man-made lakes, while Segways can be hired to zip around the complex if you want to give your hiking boots or freshly cracked novel a well-earned break. Be warned though, hovering along on a Segway is a surreal experience, but not one for everybody, as I found out.

On the doorstep of the property is Leura Golf Club, regarded as one of the area's best courses. Even if you don't fancy knocking around the little white ball, you're still likely to appreciate the surrounding green, daydream-friendly fairways.

Room with a view

The Fairmont's rooms are charming in a minimalist kind of way, coming in a number of varieties with the quirkiest being the newly introduced Pet Room, which comes complete with a pet pamper pack.

Although modern, the rooms afford a cosy cabin-style feel è with a splash of grandeur.

Another room worth mentioning is The Tavern, a function room complete with sandstone pillars, timber finishings, spinning disco balls and its own bar. It sounds like a John Wayne disco gone horribly wrong but it succeeds in achieving a swanky saloon feel, whether it was intended or not.

Taking the initiative

Of the new initiatives introduced by the resort is the sourcing of local produce for the fine-dining restaurant Eucalypt, and the casual eatery Jamisons, largely thanks to newly appointed executive chef Rebecca Kaye.

While on the topic of food, the resort also runs high teas on Saturdays and Sundays, complete with a dizzying selection of sandwiches and cakes.

Efforts have also been made to facilitate a family-friendly environment with Master Chef-like cooking classes put on for the kids as well as a host of other interactive activities.

Chocolate hills

Outside of the resort, Josophan's in Leura Mall is a widely-recognised chocolatier that offers both tasting appreciation sessions and how-to-make-chocolate workshops. Its unique offerings make it a must-visit for the sweet-toothed.

The wider Blue Mountains region is somewhat developing a reputation for boutique shopping and along with a clustering of cafes — Leura village is also well worth a stroll.

For more information or to make a booking at Fairmont, visit www.fairmontresort.com.au.

Do you have any travel tips for the Blue Mountains? Share them below.

Related: Winter in the Blue Mountains

User comments
One of the most beautiful locations to have a resort, the scenery is just so breathtaking. The Fairmont, the staff and the rooms are most welcoming.
Great article! Fairmont & the Mountains look so beautiful at this time of year! I hear the food is awesome too in Eucalypt. I love that fireplace downstairs in Embers bar, great cocktails!!!

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